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Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust . Workshop Goals . Increase knowledge and understanding of the four generations

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intergenerational communication in the workplace

Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust 

workshop goals
Workshop Goals
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the four generations
  • Enhance comprehension of how generational differences affect you
  • Promote skills for effective intergenerational communication
  • Expand capacity to manage diverse working styles across the generations
is the generation gap back
Is the Generation Gap Back?
  • Generational differences represent a critical new aspect to workplace diversity.
  • How you view generational differences is based on your generational perspective.
the four generations
The Four Generations
  • The Traditionalists 1922–1943/46
  • The Boomers 1943–1960/1946-1964
  • Generation X’ers 1960-1980/1964-1980
  • Millennials 1980-2000
the traditionalists
The Traditionalists
  • Born between 1922-1943/1946
  • are now 57 - 81 years old
  • Represent 25% of the work population
  • Also known as the:veterans,
  • seniors, traditionalists,
  • silent generation
the baby boomers
The Baby Boomers
  • Born between 1943-1960/1946-1964*
  • Now between the ages of 39 and 60
  • 72 million strong
  • Also known as: Boomers
the generation x ers
The Generation X’ers
  • Born between 1960-1980/1964-1980
  • Currently 23 – 43 years of age
  • 17 Million
  • Also known as: X’ers, BabyBusters, Post-Boomers
the generation y s or millennials
The Generation Y’s or Millennials
  • Born between 1980 and 2000
  • Under 23 years of age
  • 68 Million Strong
  • Also known as the:Nexters, Nintendo

Generation,Internet Generation

traditionalists defining events
Traditionalists: Defining Events
  • The Great Depression & Dust Bowl
  • The New Deal
  • Social Security Established
  • Golden Age of Radio
  • Pearl Harbor Attacked
  • WW II and Korean War
  • Patriotism
  • Rise of Labor Unions
traditionalists heroes
Traditionalists: Heroes
  • Superman
  • MacArthur, Patton, Halsey,Montgomery, Eisenhower
  • FDR
  • Winston Churchill
  • Audie Murphy
  • Babe Ruth
  • Joe DiMaggio
boomers defining events
Boomers: Defining Events
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Expansion of Suburbia
  • Focus on Children
  • Television
  • Vietnam
  • Assassinations
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Cold War/McCarthy Hearings
  • Space Race/Moon Landing
baby boomers heroes
Baby Boomers: Heroes
  • Ghandi
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • John and Jacqueline Kennedy
  • John Glenn
  • Feminist Movement
gen x ers defining events
Gen X’ers: Defining Events
  • Watergate, Nixon resigns
  • Challenger Disaster
  • Computers
  • Single-parent homes
  • Latchkey Kids
  • MTV
  • AIDS
  • Harsh economic conditions
  • Glasnost, Perestroika
  • Persian Gulf
gen x ers heroes
Gen X’ers: Heroes ?
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Bill Gates & Steve Jobs
  • Michael Jackson
  • Michael Jordan
  • Things, animation…
millenials defining events
Millenials: Defining Events
  • Technology
  • TV Talk Shows
  • Multiculturalism
  • Desert Storm
  • Clinton Scandals
  • Schoolyard Violence
  • Oklahoma City Bombing
  • 9/11
  • Columbia tragedy
millenials heroes
Millenials: Heroes ?
  • Michael Jordan
  • Princess Diana
  • Mother Teresa
  • Tiger Woods
  • Lance Armstrong
generational clash in the workplace
Generational Clash in the Workplace
  • Worldwide economy
  • Rapid change in the workplace
  • Downsizing of companies
  • Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations
  • Elimination of middle management
  • Less union activity in companies
  • Seniority only one element of promotion
  • Technology
the result
The Result:
  • No job is safe, and no career assured.
  • Causes employees to identify more with their generation and blame other generations for workplace problems and issues.
  • The real generational workplace conflict is based on differences in values, ambitions, views, mindsets, and demographics.
traditionalist values

Law and order

Strong work ethic

Risk averse

Respect for authority


Delayed reward

Duty, honor, country

Loyalty to the organization

Traditionalist Values
traditionalists at work


Detail oriented



Hard working


Inept w/ambiguity and change

Reluctant to buck the system

Uncomfortable with conflict

Reticent when they disagree

Traditionalists at Work
traditionalists training development

Take plenty of time

Give them the “big picture”

Emphasize long-term goals

Let them share their experience



Don’t stereotype as technophobes

Use formality and order

Don’t rush it

Traditionalists: Training & Development
messages that motivate traditionalists
Messages that Motivate Traditionalists
  • “Your experience is respected here.”
  • “It’s important for the rest of us to hear what has, and hasn’t, worked in the past.”
  • “Your perseverance is valued and will be rewarded.”
boomer values

Team work

Personal gratification

Health and wellness

Promotion and recognition




Boomer Values
boomers at work

Service oriented


Willing to “go the extra mile”

Good at relationships

Want to please

Good team players


Not naturally “budget minded”

Uncomfortable with conflict

Reluctant to go against peers

Put process ahead of results

Sensitive to feedback

Judgmental of those who see things differently

Boomers at Work
boomers training development

Focus on the near future

Focus on challenges

Focus on their role


Meetings and team team building

Provide develop-mental experiences

Use business books and training tapes

Boomers: Training & Development
messages that motivate boomers
Messages that Motivate Boomers
  • “You are important to our success.
  • “We recognize your unique and important contribution to our team.”
  • What is your vision for this project?”
  • “You are valued.”
gen x values

Thinking globally

Balance in life

Computer literacy

Personal development





Gen X Values
gen x ers at work




Not intimidated by authority




Poor people skills



Gen X’ers at Work
gen x ers training development

Focus on balance

Offer them access to many different kinds of information

Provide resource lists


Electronic support

Keep materials brief – bullets/checklists

Help them train for another job

Gen X’ers: Training & Development
messages that motivate gen x ers
Messages that Motivate Gen X’ers
  • “Do it your way.”
  • “We’ve got the latest computer technology.”
  • “There aren’t a lot of rules here.”
  • “We’re not very corporate.”
millennial values

Civic duty








Millennial Values
millennials at work






Technological savvy


Need for supervision and structure

Inexperience, particularly with handling different people issues

Service levels are low

Millennials at Work
millennials training development

Take plenty of time

Let them know what they do matters

Communicate expectations


Focus on customer service and interpersonal skills

Model the behavior you want to see

Large teams with strong leadership

Millennials: Training & Development
messages that motivate millennials
Messages that Motivate Millennials
  • “We provide equal opportunities here.”
  • “Your mentor is in his/her sixties.”
  • “You are making a positive difference to our company.”
  • “You handled that situation well.”
using the acorn approach
Using the ACORN Approach
  • Accommodate employee differences.
  • Create workplace choices.
  • Operate from a flexible management style.
  • Respect competence and initiative.
  • Nourish retention.

Source: Generations At Work, Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak


“It is axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: Conscious insensitivity is a self- contradiction.”

- W.H. Auden